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Anthem Blue Cross Settles Lawsuit

Anthem Blue Cross recently settled a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of 122,000 individual policyholders who alleged that the insurer violated state law by closing their plans to new members without offering comparable coverage options. The company admitted no wrongdoing, but will now offer consumers the option of remaining in their current plan with limits on rate increases or switching to a new plan without a medical history review.

Responsibility for regulation and enforcement of rate-setting and risk pooling practices in the individual insurance market may evolve over the next few years with full implementation of the Exchange. The California Dept. of Insurance and Dept. of Managed Health Care currently share responsibility for oversight, although there has been some discussion of merging the two. Officials have stated that the Exchange will work closely with these departments, but function primarily as an insurance purchaser and facilitator, not a regulator.